5 things to know about Chelsea F.C owner Roman Abramovich
For football fans, Chelsea F.C owner Roman Abramovich is a name they are likely to be very familiar with. Since taking over the West London club in 2003, they have gone on to win 17 major trophies. But whilst many will be aware of his success in the footballing world, here are 5 things you might not know about the Russian oil tycoon.
He was orphaned at the age of 2
Born in the Soviet Union to a poor Jewish family, before the age of one, Abramovich tragically lost his mother, Irina, who died during a medical procedure.
Before turning three, he also lost his father, Arkady, who was killed accidentally at the construction site where he worked. This led to the orphaned Abramovich being cared for by his paternal uncle, Leib.
His first business was selling stolen fuel
Although Abramovich is known today as the owner of private investment company Millhouse LLC, with huge amounts of wealth coming from the oil and steel industries, his first entrepreneurial venture was reportedly selling stolen fuel. Well, we’ve all got to start somewhere, as the old saying goes.
Abramovich wanted to buy Tottenham before Chelsea
Prior to buying Chelsea F.C in 2003, Abramovich reportedly had his eyes set on buying their London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Apparently, the Russian-Israeli businessman had even gone as far as to visit their ground at the time, White Hart Lane, and express an interest in buying the club through an intermediary. However, there are other journalists who have alleged that Abramovich had originally wanted to purchase Tottenham’s rivals, Arsenal.
Former Governor of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
After starting five companies in the oil industry and becoming one of the biggest aluminium producers, Abramovich ventured into politics.
In 1999, he was elected as Governor of Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, the easternmost constituent entity in Russia, and served in the role from 2000 to 2008.
Abramovich has been accused of fraud, blackmail and bribery over the years
Despite his success in the business and incredible wealth – his net worth on Forbes currently stands at $14.3bn – Times’ magazine reported that Abramovich has admitted to paying billions of dollars to achieve political favours in order to attain big shares in Russia’s aluminium and oil assets.
His business partner, Boris Berezovsky, has also claimed Abramovich threatened to sell his shares for less than they were worth and won a civil case against the Chelsea owner for $3bn in damages.